This Year's Draft Group Did Just Fine

Having productive drafts has become the custom for the Dodgers of late. Even though 2006 was considered a "down" year for prospects, they still came up with some good ones. That's particularly true in the first round where they had three choices.

Due to their lowly finish in 2005, they had the seventh pick; then when the Angels obliged by signing Jeff Weaver, they gained two more. Each of those taken looks like he will be rewarding in the future. Some of the others chosen down the line may work out as well. In all, they signed 18 of the 50 selected with two of those coming after the season. Here's a review of the group that became Dodgers:

1- Clayton Kershaw, lhp. His debut can be labeled "outstanding." He dominated in the Gulf Coast League -2-0, 1.95, 54 strikeouts in 37 innings. Then he threw even better in the Arizona Instructional League, hitting 96 mph on the gun.

1- (from Angels ) - Bryan Morris, rhp. His record for Ogden was hardly spectacular- 4-5, 5.13. However, his performance so impressed Pioneer League managers,( he struck out 79 in 59 innings showing a great fast ball and advanced curve), that he was rated the No. 1 prospect in a Baseball America poll. Alas, he's since had Tommy John surgery so will miss all of 2007.

1 (supplemental) - Preston Mattingly, ss. It shouldn't be surprising that Don's son looks very much like he'll be a hitter of note and he runs a lot better than Dad ever did. .290 with one homer and 12 stolen bases for the GCL Dodgers.

2- to Braves for signing Rafael Furcal.

3- To Red Sox for signing Bill Mueller.

4- Kyle Orr, 1b. The top Canadian taken in the draft, he signed after the season, then played in the Instructional League. He's very raw but shows considerable power potential.

5- Kyle Smit, rhp. A bad back ruined most of his season but in the brief time he was heathy he flashed a power arm. 0-2, 4.09 with one save in the Gulf Coast.

6- Garret White, lhp. - Another with a shabby record for Ogden- 1-3, 7.62 but don't be fooled. He has the ability to be a competent lefty out of the bullpen.

7- Jaime Ortiz, 1b. - Hit .323 with two homers in the Gulf Coast. Inexperience hurt but he's strong and is another who packs power in his 6-3, 200 frame.

8- Tommy Giles, of.- The thinking is he could be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues eventually and he looked the part. Hit .291 with five homers for Ogden.

9- Phil Hunt, of.- Converted from third base to a center fielder. Hit for average in the tough South Atlantic League- 314. Demonstrated more speed (12 stolen bases) than pop (one home run).

10- Andy D'Alessio, 1b. Reneged on his promise to sign and returned to Clemson.

11- Justin Fuller, ss. Looked good in the field, not so at the plate. 231 for Ogden.

12- Paul Coleman, lhp. Used mostly in relied and did well enough for Ogden. 1-1, 2.70.

17- Michael Rivera, ss. A college second base, moved to short. Has speed but not all that impressive at bat. Hit .253 with one home run and 12 stolen bases for Ogden.

18- Joe Jones, rhp. Son of Dodger scout Hank Jones knows how to pitch but hasn't great stuff. Went 1-0, 6.60 for Ogden, then 1-2, 2.68 with Columbus.

21- Matt Berezay, of. Hit much better than expected for Ogden- .296 with eight homers.

22- Chris Jensen. Did okay at Ogden- .281 with one homer in 15 games but didn't hit all for Columbus .141 in 25 games.

23- Eric Thompson, rhp. An imposing guy (6-6, 215) who turned down a college scholarship to play basketball, then signed late. Looked sharp in Arizona Instructional League with a fast ball in the low 90/s.

24- John Martin, c. - Was just so-so in the Pioneer League. 256 with one homer.

25- Esteban Lopez, c. Didn't play all that much for the GCL Dodgers, just 13 games. Hit .279 with no homers. Looks like a backup at best.

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